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Odenton man who claimed to have coronavirus charged with assaulting housemate, spitting at police

An Odenton man who allegedly assaulted his housemate Tuesday claimed to have tested positive for the coronavirus and spat at officers when they arrived, court records show.

William David Edings, 32, of the 1000 block of New Dawn Lane, has been charged with second degree assault and four counts of exposure by an individual who has an infectious disease, online court records show.

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Anne Arundel County police have not arrested Edings. Instead they ordered him to stay inside, considering the risks to all involved in the criminal justice system, according to court records.

Edings does not have an attorney listed online and did not return a phone call but responded to a text message for comment:

“That’s f****** crazy...” Edings wrote in the text message. “Didn’t happen.”

Officers responded to his residence around 3 p.m. Monday after a caller reported having been in an altercation with his landlord’s son, police wrote in charging documents for Edings.

The caller told police he approached Edings, the landlord’s son, after discovering the kitchen sink reeked of urine. Edings allegedly erupted, saying “F*** you Mexican,” according to court documents.

Police wrote the caller said he went inside and into his bedroom to avoid further conflict only for Edings to kick in his door and tell him he had 30 days to leave the premises. Feeling threatened, the housemate said he went to his vehicle to leave the house, only for Edings to follow and allegedly spit on the man’s arm twice.

Officers arrived wearing masks and gloves, some of the additional protective gear they’ve been equipped with as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread.

“Without going into medical details our officers used proper protective gear and tactics," Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman Sgt. Jacklyn Davis said. “The (Anne Arundel County) Department of Health was contacted and advised no need for officers to quarantine due to the circumstances.”

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Edings was sitting in a chair on the front porch and was uncooperative and began coughing uncontrollably. He allegedly told the officers he tested positive for the coronavirus and that he had a doctor’s note ordering two weeks of self-quarantine, according to court documents.

Then, he stood up and approached the three officers “coughing and spitting on the ground,” court records show. This prompted officers to distance themselves and threaten to tase Edings if he didn’t back up. He finally complied.

The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which can be spread through droplets generated during coughs and sneezes, according to the World Health Organization. Saliva or nasal discharge can also spread the virus.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, an application of charges was deemed to be the best option due to Mr. Edings risk to exposing first responders,” police wrote in charging documents. “Mr. Edings was advised to go inside his residence and self quarantine.”

But shortly thereafter, court records show, officers saw Edings leave the house through his garage to take his dog for a walk. He allegedly coughed and spat on the ground, police wrote, “endangering the general public to exposure.”

News reports from Spain, Illinois and Pennsylvania during the pandemic have detailed incidents where a person has spat or coughed at officers during an arrest.

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Marc Limansky, an Anne Arundel County police spokesman, said he was unaware of other spitting incidents. Annapolis Police spokeswoman Sgt. Amy Miguez echoed Limansky’s comments but noted that tensions are high amidst the coronavirus.

Said Miguez: “There’s a lot of anxiety out there."

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